Monday, October 31, 2016

boo is only two letters away from books


did I scare you?

no? oh. okay. *cries in a corner*

are you someone who likes to be scared? who enjoys the rush of mysterious fear and the adrenaline of the moment? I am. however, I also get scared extremely easily, and then anxiety increases that terror ten-fold. so I have to be careful how I scare myself. I try to minimize the amount of "scary" tv shows I watch, although I do love a good suspenseful one, and over the years, I've found that the best way to give myself a scare is to read a scary book.

and since I am embarking on an adventure (tomorrow!!!) to write a somewhat scary book, I thought I would reminisce on some of the scary books I've enjoyed over the years.

(side note: not all of these are scary now. some were enhanced by my terrified child mind. and some still freak me out a little, even though I'll never admit it. oh. whoops.)


A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, and A Swiftly Tilting Planet, by Madeleine L'Engle

these books scarred me as a child. but in a good way. I was probably too young to read A Wind in the Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet when I did read them, but I'm glad I did. this series contributed to my fear of large brains and the smell of cabbage, and they also extremely confused me about the actual function of mitochondria (which, I'm proud to say, I've finally sorted out after ten years).

A Wrinkle in Time was my first experience with science fiction--before I read Star Wars, before I read Ender's Game, I read about Meg and Charles Wallace and Calvin. and I loved it, even though it terrified me about high school math teachers turning into Echthroi. Many Water wasn't scary, although it inspired a great of the end of the world and great love for the Murry twins, and I haven't read An Acceptable Time--I know, the travesty. but I plan to with this reread of this wonderful series. I highly recommend these, especially now that I enjoy them as excellent pieces of fiction as well as somewhat scary books--they are perfect to curl up under a blanket with on a dark stormy night.

Morpheus Road, by James McHale

I'd forgotten about these until I was pondering what books actually scared me. these instantly popped up, shouting "pick me, pick me!" or maybe it wrote that on a mirror in blood. I don't really know. it has been AGES since I picked up a Morpheus Road book, so I don't remember a lot of the plot, but I do know that people died, there was a lake of blood (?), and boats. lots of boats. after thinking about it, it kind of reminds me a lot of Death Note, except there's no notebook you can kill people with, and no cake-loving genius. there is a demon thingie that reminds me a lot of Ryuk, but without the sass and the apples.

this description may not make sense or sound that exciting, but I genuinely enjoyed reading this series, even though it scared me. Morpheus Road was probably the first YA horror I ever experienced, and I think it was a good first experience.

This Present Darkness, by Frank Peretti

yoooo this was the first adult book I ever read (around age 13? I think?), and it freaked the crap out of me. it's a really good book, or at least I remember it being really good, with a lot of interesting characters, but those demon descriptions, man. I've actually read several of this guys books, and all of them, especially his YA ones, have been good and thrill-worthy. I just have a soft spot for This Present Darkness because of how much it terrified me as a child.

basically me when I first read This Present Darkness

Fiendish, by Brenna Yovanoff

I don't talk enough about my new love for Brenna Yovanoff, queen of all things weird and magical. Fiendish is about a girl who was buried alive with her eyes sewn shut until someone comes and wakes her and basically starts the end of the world. it's a ride and a half, and I love the concept of the various magics that the people in the town had. I wish certain things about Fiendish had been developed a little better, like Clementine adjusting to the real world, and her relationship with Eric was...weird. it had its good points, but it was mostly just...weird. but if you're looking for an extremely well-written book in terms of prose, premise, and potential, with just enough creepiness to make it spooky, Fiendish is perfect for you.

The Foxglove Killings, by Tara Kelly

this book kept me up at night. I love a good suspense novel, but The Foxglove Killings delivered above and beyond that. huge psychological thriller about a little town in the middle of the woods. pretty good characters with a romance side-plot that didn't need to be there, but I understand the why of it all. the twists and turns were actually very surprising, and I genuinely felt concerned for the protagonists and their well-being. this book was so creepy that I am actually a little worried about naming one of my characters Foxglove...oh well...
first I was like this when I realized the similarity

then I was like this once I realized I'm too in love with this name. 

The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater

Fun story: I was so confused by this book and scared because it was just so weird that I didn't sleep well the night after finishing it. instead, I got up and reread it in order to fall asleep and/or get some form of peace, I guess. but this whole series is just creepy enough that it sends chills up your spines, and it plays with your mind in ways that you don't really understand.

The Lynburn Legacy trilogy, by Sarah Rees Brennan

this series is not as scary as much as it is an utter delight to read. although, scarecrows coming to life and attacking people has also been one of my unrealistic fears (I have a lot of these, fight me). if we ignore the whole drama that Jared and Kami are (by golly there's a lot of drama. I love them and I sort of like the way it was handled in the first book, but by book three we're still dealing with the same old song and it's a little exhausted), Unspoken, Untold, and Unmade have a lot of great characters, an interesting plot, and some of the best humor I've ever read.

it literally took me a page and a half to fall in love with the sassy Kami, and the concept of suddenly having that voice in your head be an actual real-life human being was both interesting and terrifying. my only issue is that Unspoken has an unbelievably gorgeous cover (actually the reason I picked it up), while Untold and Unmade have covers that are completely different and look like your stereotypical paranormal romance. *sighs*  I'm nearly done with Unmade (it took me longer than the first two because DRAMA), but overall, I highly recommend these books if you enjoy Maggie Stiefvater or Brenna Yovanoff or basically if you want to read a book about gothic magic with hilarious dialogue.

I literally could not stop laughing. 

I basically wrote this post as an excuse to recommend these books. go. find them at your library. put them on hold. devour them and love them like I did.

what are some of the books that creeped you out as a child? any creepy recommendations? I think I might try more Frank Peretti and maybe some Ted Dekker (man I haven't read Christian fiction in a while...), as well as other YA authors, but what are some that you have enjoyed?? do you prefer fantasy scary, real life scary, or supernatural scary--or all three??

or are you just generally terrified of scariness? you're not alone--I am too. I'm just too in love with the adrenaline rush to stop. 
see y'all soon! NaNoWriMo is just around the corner, and I'm not ready!


Sunday, October 30, 2016

a year in music : x

music was my refuge.

I could crawl into the spaces

between the notes

and curl my back

to loneliness. 

~ maya angelou

Switching things up this time! CLICK THIS PICTURE and be escorted to a playlist of all the songs in this post!! how convenient! enjoy!  

i. dear wormwood
[ the oh hellos ]

ii.  first love
[ min yoongi ]

iii. can you hear my heart?
[ tablo + lee hi ]

iv. send my love 
[ adele ]

v. monster calling home
[ run river north ]

vi. mama
[ jung hoseok ]

vii. heartbeat
[ amber ]

viii. hold me
[ the sweeplings ]

ix. 21세기 소녀
[ bangtan ]

x. spirit cold
[  tall heights ]

xi. be quiet
[ monsta x ]

xii. holup
[ bobby ]

xiii. thus always to tyrants
[ the oh hellos ]

xiv. blood sweat and tears
[ bangtan ]

Saturday, October 22, 2016

eight reasons why I love jealousy incarnate

because I'm bored and this post has been sitting in my drafts for like two weeks now. enjoy. <3

lettuce begin.

1. First of all, it's got a really snappy title that accurately reflects the plot of the show. A lot of dramas have great, eye-catching titles, but sometimes I feel like they fall short of spelling out what the show is about in just a few words. In Jealousy Incarnate's case, it plainly states that it deals with jealousy without being too wordy or vague about it.

2. the cast is FLAWLESS. Gong Hyo Jin was an actress I'd seen in Master's Sun ages ago, but since I never fell in love that show, I never fell in love with her. however, she quickly became one of my favourite actresses with her depiction of the weather caster Pyo Na Ri. she's not over the top or board-like, like some romantic comedy actress I could name, and she's made Pyo Na Ri into a hilarious character that you root for and cry over. Jo Jung Suk was great in Oh My Ghostess and King 2 Hearts (*cries forever*), and in this show, he makes me laugh with his facial expressions, quirks, and indignant rage. he also simultaneously makes me want to punch a wall sometimes, because Hwa Shin is a big jerk on occasion (read here: pretty much the entire first four episodes, I think, and then smatterings later on), but once he realizes that he's been a sucky guy to Pyo Na Ri and a lot of others--and then has a brush with reality or two--he slowly arcs into a more likable person. Go Kyung Po continues to astound me with his acting growth. I've been watching him in dramas for four years. And he's always improving.

these were the days...
these were also the days...but that hair was a mistake.

The supporting cast is fantastic as well, and I love how they're all filling the side stories with quality acting, even though they may not get as much attention as Pyo Na Ri and her crew.

these two. they crack me up so much, even though they annoyed me at first.

3. as you might have guessed, it's about people being jealous. love triangles and jealousy and star-crossed lovers are all HUUUUUUUUGE tropes in kdramas (seriously. can't they be just friends for once??), and Jealousy Incarnate has all of these. but it's how they're handled that really makes the show. I really think they put an important emphasis on the relationships between the characters instead of the drama of it all--and they are not above laughing at how absurd the whole situation is.

they know love triangles are silly and don't often happen in real life. but this one is so realistic that it does seem like it could be happening in real life, right before your eyes: girl has a crush on a coworker for three years, he can't stand her, but once she starts dating his best friend-and thus they spend more meaningful time together and become closer--he realizes that he's fallen in love with her without meaning to. queue chaos.

the face of a man who just realized his biggest mistake

they also do not pull out the "oh, I am not worthy to love you! I will shove my feelings away because I know that you must be happy with someone else!" trope. Hwa Shin admits that he likes Na Ri, but instead of being too aggressive or too dismissive of his feelings, he finds a happy medium; he chooses to have a one-sided love with her and leave it at that. "don't waver because me," he tells her. "don't ever waver because of me."

4. along the same lines, Jealousy Incarnate is a very silly show dealing with very serious topics. these topics create some very tear-jerking moments, but there has not been a point in time where I groan and think "oh crap, they're over doing the drama again".

except for this one. this was all the drama.

this is mostly because they balance the serious so well with the humor. Red's situation with her father dying was extremely heart-breaking, but the whole plot of her having two moms (her step mom and her biological mother) fighting for her love and attention has been hilarious and sometimes very sweet, especially as one of Red's moms has taken Na Ri's brother under her wing. Hwa Shin's breast cancer is a VERY serious topic, and they've been very serious in how important it is to get treatment and how dangerous it can be if left untreated, but they've balanced it so well with Hwa Shin's embarrassment toward having breast cancer, of all things, and the whole rooming situation (Oh, how I miss Grandma Hwa Shin). I was also really interested by the fact that they've included an asexual character? I don't think I've ever seen that in a kdrama before, and I really hope that they don't do the old-switcheroo and make him have ED or something, like I originally thought he was before they spelled it out.

even the way Hwa Shin's cancer is discovered is hilarious.

5. they flipped the scripts! normally in dramas, the guy is the one constantly taking care/asking after the girl, making sure she's eating/taking care of herself. aka, being overprotective. in Jealousy Incarnate, Pyo Na Ri is the one making sure that Hwa Shin goes to treatment. that Hwa Shin doesn't get drunk. that Hwa Shin isn't alone. even when she's not interested in him and is dating Jung Won, she's constantly asking him "do you want to eat with us?" that's a big deal. part of this is a reflection on Na Ri's large heart, and part of it is a reflection on how much Hwa Shin needs to grow. but she's also not ignoring his faults while looking after him, and that's an equally big deal.

later on, it's Na Ri who slaps Hwa Shin for trying to kiss her. it's Na Ri who admits that the fact that she's in love with both men, that she has two heart, is wrong, and it's Na Ri who breaks up with both guys and tells them to stop pursuing her. it's Na Ri who moves on. it's Na Ri who takes responsibility for her actions, instead of hiding behind secrets and shame. and I really respect that about her. Na Ri is such a strong character, and I'm really thankful that Gong Hyo Jin is giving her her full potential.

5. the bromance!! Hwa Shin and Jung Won are literally the best bros. I love how they are so stupid together and really truly love each other, even as Na Ri begins to grow between them, both as a friend and as lover. things get rough once the truth comes out, about Na Ri's three year long one-sided crush on Hwa Shin and Hwa Shin's late change of heart, but even as the two guys fight, you can really tell that they love each other.

because you're more scared of losing your best friend than losing a girl. at least, at first.
it is interesting to see that when Hwa Shin discovers that Na Ri likes Jung Won, he's a little irked and confused at first, but then when Jung Won finds out that Hwa Shin likes Na Ri...he's furious. he slowly forgives Hwa Shin, but you can tell that even as they mend their relationship, there's still something about this whole ordeal that still bothers him. their mud fight is another excellent example of the show's way of dealing with serious matters in humorous ways, and I love it.

6. (okay this is a silly one) I am in love with Pyo Na Ri's style. the way she dresses is amazing--it reflects the zaniness of her character, and it also really shows her position in life. she's not dirt poor, but she's definitely struggling to keep her and her brother afloat. her clothes look like something she might have found in a thrift shop--nice, but just weird enough that they don't look like they're from a department store. I love it so much. I would totally wear some of her outfits.

even when she gets stuck with a stranger's clothes, she totally rocks it.

7. Na Ri's determination is probably what sold me from the very beginning. she doesn't give up. if there is a way, she'll find it. but she's also not the stereotypical character who sees sunshine in every situation. when she finds out that her breast examination came up with something on it, she's terrified of the possibility that she has the same cancer her mother did. when she learns that she won't be able to attend the announcer test, she's heartbroken. but once she's had her cry, her moment of "what do I do the world is ending", she takes a breath and keeps on going. if she can, she'll find a way, and if she can't, she accepts it. even if it's hard. even if it's not what she wants to do. she does it any way.

8. my latest favourite thing--as well as something I worried about at the beginning of the show--is how they're handling the whole Hwa Shin situation. if he got to be a jerk to Na Ri for three freaking years, then fell in love with her and automatically got the girl, like none of that had happened, I would have flipped. but that's not how they're doing it. Hwa Shin stews in guilt because he knows he did wrong by treating her that way--and in some weird, tortuous frame of mind, his introducing Na Ri to Jung Won is is punishment. he realizes what a great person she's always been, and he regrets ever rejecting her earlier. and yet he doesn't force his feelings upon her, like some main leads I could mention. *coughs and looks pointedly at Cheese in the Trap's Jung* he doesn't take them back, but he's content to like her from the sideline and experience what she experienced. "you can even treat me as horribly as I did," he says to her. "you said you wanted to experience a one-sided love, didn't you?"

I think this really reflects on Hwa Shin's growth as a character. when you meet him, he's a cocky jerk who doesn't think twice about insulting people and who is terrified of people learning that he has breast cancer, of all things. but as he and Na Ri grow closer, he becomes the person who helps her calm down for her camera test, who hangs out with little baby Beom outside the neighborhood convenience store (I love that scene so much), and who cares. he fears what will happen when Jung Won finds out about his feelings--and then he's wondering how he'll ever tell him, because he knows in his heart that he is the one who has to tell him.  he's become a really likeable character, even though he still has moments of idiocy. and I really appreciate that.

he's come a long way from this dirtbag.

bonus reason:  "Na-ri-yah." that's all. I'm having all the feelings right now. heLP. (I'm watching ep 15 as I'm editing this lol)

( note : I am NOT a fan of how Jung Won and Hwa Shin are insisting on Na Ri dating both of them. a), it's not realistic. b), they're being too pushy--Jung Won mostly. and c) why. why. why. if she doesn't want to date you, man, she doesn't want to date you. )

see y'all soon!!!

*none of these gifs are mine. all the credit goes to the talented creators*